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Tips on how to Convert a Date to Timestamp in JavaScript

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In programming, we regularly must take care of dates and occasions, which might be represented in a couple of alternative ways, like an object (by way of Date), a string (i.e. “2023-10-04T00:00:00.000Z”), or a timestamp (i.e. 1696377600000). On this Byte, we’ll discover the best way to convert a date or date string to a timestamp in JavaScript.

Why Convert Date or Date String to Timestamp

However why do we have to convert a date or date string to a timestamp within the first place? Timestamps are a extra common method of storing date and time data. They characterize the variety of seconds (or milliseconds) for the reason that Unix Epoch (January 1, 1970), making them a easy solution to retailer date and time information. They’re additionally timezone-agnostic, which may simplify issues when coping with information from completely different time zones.

Dates and Timestamps in JavaScript

Earlier than we get into changing our dates, let’s take a second to know what we’re coping with. In JavaScript, a Date object represents a second in time. You possibly can create a brand new Date object with the new Date() constructor.

Alternatively, a timestamp is a numeric illustration of a date, as described earlier.

let currentDate = new Date();
console.log(currentDate); // Outputs: 2023-10-04T13:20:23.670Z

Tips on how to Convert a Date to Timestamp

Changing a Date object to a timestamp in JavaScript is fairly easy. You should use the getTime() technique, which returns the variety of milliseconds for the reason that Unix Epoch.

let currentDate = new Date();
let timestamp = currentDate.getTime();
console.log(timestamp); // Outputs: 1696425660603

Be aware: The getTime() technique returns the timestamp in milliseconds. When you want the timestamp in seconds, you’ll be able to divide the consequence by 1000.

Tips on how to Convert a Date String to Timestamp

So what if we’ve a date in string format? It will be an analogous course of as earlier than, however with the additional step of changing the string to a Date object after which the timestamp.

Simply make certain your date string is in a format that the Date constructor can perceive. In line with MDN:

The JavaScript specification solely specifies one format to be universally supported: the date time string format, a simplification of the ISO 8601 calendar date prolonged format. The format is as follows:

Apparently different codecs do work, however are implementation-dependent and will not work throughout all browsers.

let dateString = "2023-10-04";
let dateObject = new Date(dateString);
let timestamp = dateObject.getTime();
console.log(timestamp); // Outputs: 1696377600000

So the date string needs to be in a format acknowledged by the Date.parse() technique (used internally by the Date constructor). Whereas the above format is formally specified, you may as well use extra shorthand dates like “YYYY-MM-DD”.

Different Options

Whereas we have centered on the Date object and its getTime() technique for changing a date to a timestamp in JavaScript, there are different methods to attain the identical factor. As an illustration, the valueOf() technique returns the primitive worth of a Date object as a quantity information sort, which is the timestamp.

This is an instance:

let date = new Date();
console.log(date.valueOf()); // Output: 1696428432208

The + operator can be used to transform a Date object to a timestamp. This works as a result of the + operator triggers the valueOf() technique behind the scenes with a view to do any mathematical operation on the date.

let date = new Date();
console.log(+date); // Output: 1696428432208

Be aware: Whereas these strategies obtain the identical consequence, it is necessary to know how they work and when to make use of them. The + operator, for instance, is likely to be much less clear to somebody studying your code than the specific getTime() or valueOf() strategies.

Frequent Errors and Tips on how to Keep away from Them

A typical mistake when working with dates and timestamps in JavaScript isn’t accounting for time zones. JavaScript’s Date object is based mostly on the person’s native time zone, however timestamps are at all times UTC. This could result in sudden outcomes if not dealt with accurately.

For instance, as an example you create a Date object for midnight on a selected date:

let date = new Date('2023-10-04T00:00:00');
console.log(date.getTime()); // Output: 1696428432208

Relying in your native time zone, the timestamp won’t characterize midnight UTC, however another time. To keep away from this, at all times create Date objects in UTC while you plan to transform them to timestamps.

One other frequent mistake is utilizing the Date.parse() technique to transform a date string to a timestamp. Whereas this could work, it isn’t really useful as a result of Date.parse() has inconsistent conduct throughout completely different browsers and may result in some very hard-to-find bugs!

Use-Circumstances of Date/Timestamp Conversion

Changing dates to timestamps is beneficial in lots of conditions. For instance, timestamps are sometimes utilized in APIs and databases to file when an occasion occurred. By storing the time as a timestamp, you’ll be able to simply examine occasions and calculate durations—one thing that is a lot tougher, or extra error-prone, with date strings.

Timestamps are additionally useful for efficiency testing. By taking a timestamp at first and finish of a course of, you’ll be able to calculate how lengthy it took. It is a frequent approach in JavaScript and different programming languages. You’d do that by creating new Date objects at first/finish of the method, however then you definately’d must convert to timestamp to have the ability to discover the distinction between the 2.


On this Byte, we have discovered the best way to convert a date to a timestamp in JavaScript utilizing the Date object’s getTime() technique. We have additionally checked out various strategies, frequent errors to keep away from, and a few use-cases for date and timestamp conversion.

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